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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Memorial becomes more than anyone could foresee

Ten years ago, it was a nice gesture and a source of pride. After all, proponents and boosters had worked hard, raised some money and saw to the installation of a nice park area near the South Gate in Ocean Pines.
 Now, the Worcester County Veterans Memorial is something else entirely. Since that comparatively inauspicious beginning, the memorial has become a powerful centerpiece, a patriotic symbol that is highly valued by veterans and their families, and an educational element for school children throughout the county.
When families and friends unite at the memorial on Monday, they will not only pay their respects to those who have fallen as well as to those who did their duty and returned, but also, in a way, to the group of volunteers who undertook the mission to honor all those who have served.
As Sharyn O’Hare, a founding member of the Worcester County Memorial Foundation, observed this week, the site initially was little more than “a hole in ground,” whereas Monday’s audience at the annual ceremony is expected to draw in excess of 3,000 people.
Additionally, seldom does a day go by that someone isn’t visiting the memorial to reflect on days past, to remember lost loved ones or simply to enjoy a few minutes of tranquility.
Although that might have been the intention and the hope of these volunteers at the outset of the program, they could not have known that the memorial’s reception by the public would be of this magnitude.
Marie Gilmore, the foundation’s president, does understand that the public embraced this landmark because it was the public that built it.
That’s true, of course, except that the community would never have had the opportunity to become involved were it not for that original group of volunteers.
Although this Memorial Day will not be about them, the foundation members definitely deserve a tip of the hat for making the celebration possible.